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Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Chemicals That Stick Around in the Body How the U.S. tracks the potentially harmful substances that build up in humans



The CDC tests for 212 of the more than 80,000 chemicals developed since the industrial revolution. Its latest full survey, released in 2009, listed many new ones, including Bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical used in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy; perchlorate, found in fireworks and explosives; perfluorinated chemicals, used in many nonstick coatings in cookware; and acrylamide, a chemical formed when carbohydrates are cooked at high temperatures (think french fries).

Virtually all the survey participants had measurable levels of those chemicals in their blood or urine, the CDC reported.

Many questions remain about which chemicals pose imminent threats, to whom and how people can avoid them. And the Toxic Substances Control Act, which regulates new and existing chemicals, hasn't been updated since 1976.  

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